In Depth

BMW 5 Series and M5: Prices, specs and reviews

Executive saloon and Touring introduce new engines and are packed with tech

BMW 5-Series 2017: Prices, specs and reviews

BMW has revealed it will launch a new version of its 5-Series executive saloon next year. 

This will be the seventh generation of the German marque's mid-sized saloon and will go straight into battle with the new E-Class, which Mercedes revealed earlier this year to rave reviews.

BMW has opted for a subtle design change, but the refit includes an new interior inspired by the 7-Series, with more space for passengers plus new in-cabin tech. It'll also come with driver assists and technologies, while the engine line-up promises greater levels of efficiency. A plug-in hybrid model will be available, too. 

Right now, BMW has only revealed the 5-Series saloon, but other bodystyles will be on the way, including a more practical estate version and a taller Gran Turismo model. 

There's no concrete news on the new M5 yet, but early rumours suggest it could come with more than 600bhp and all-wheel drive. 

Prices and specs for the launch models have now been confirmed. Here's all the details so far on the new 5-Series.

Design

While Mercedes opted to give its latest E-Class quite a heavy redesign, BMW went for modest but noticeable changes with its 5-Series.

It's a bigger car than before – taller, wider and with a longer wheelbase – but 200lbs lighter due to the increased use of aluminium. BMW claims the slightly different shape is slipperier in the air.

At the front, the 7-Series-inspired headlamps feed directly into BMW's trademark kidney grille and the car gains sporty additions such as vents below the front wheel-arches. BMW's latest L-shaped LED tail lights add focus to the back.

Twenty paint colours will be available, along with alloy wheels up to 20ins in diameter.

Interior and practicality

The subtly tweaked exterior is joined by a refreshed, higher-quality cabin that is more spacious than before. 

The longer wheelbase gives a greater amount of space in the rear for backseat passengers. There's extra headroom too and up front, the dashboard sits a little lower to make the cockpit feel lighter and airier. 

Alongside the extra passenger space comes greater boot space. The 5-Series gets a 520-litre boot – ten litres more than before. It's par for the course in the executive saloon class, although the E-Class still has a larger boot. 

The cabin is inspired by the larger 7-Series model and boasts higher-quality materials and a premium-edged redesign. The centre console still angles in towards the wheel, cocooning the driver, and overall it's more or less the set-up you'll find on BMW's biggest saloon, with a bigger 10.25ins infotainment screen sitting atop it. The screen is operated through BMW's iDrive system and it's the first to feature wireless Apple CarPlay. 

Technology

CarBuyer predicts 7-Series tech will trickle down to the new model.

You'll be able to control a lot of the switches and settings through gestures, while a new parking assist function will locate empty spots and a remote parking system will park the car without anyone behind the wheel.

In addition, semi-autonomous driving technology will keep the 5-Series on par with its rivals. BMW's Steering and Lane Control Assistant package, which works up to 130mph, uses sensors, cameras and radars to drive automatically on motorways.

There's also the Crossroads Warning system to detect when another vehicle is about to pull out in front and readies the brakes for an emergency stop - which the car can do for you.

Engines

While the 5-Series will have a wide range of engines, only four of them will be ready at launch – two diesels and two petrols.

The 520d is the entry-level diesel engine, a 2.0-litre power plant with 187bhp. BMW claims you'll get 67.3mpg from it and it's available with either a manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Above it sits an automatic 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel called the 530d, which will have 261bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 5.7secs, although it won't be quite as efficient.

The two petrol engines are turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder options. The former is the 530i and has 248bhp on tap, while the potent six-cylinder will have 335bhp. Running costs will be higher than on the diesels.                                                                                                          

BMW also plans to launch an Efficient Dynamics version of the 520d, returning up to 72.2mpg, as well as a hybrid version of the 2.0-litre petrol and a four-wheel drive powered by a petrol V8.

BMW M5

BMW has already given fans a teaser image of a heavily camouflaged version of its new M5. Now a production version of the super saloon has made a surprise appearance on the cover of the upcoming racing game – Need for Speed: Payback.

Following the game's announcement on Friday, the car firm posted an image showing the front end of the range-topping saloon on its Twitter page.

While it's difficult to see the car in detail, the image shows that the new M5 will have aggressive front end styling similar to its M2 sibling. This will include massive air vents and flared wheel arches.  

Despite keeping to a rear-wheel drive setup for the past 32 years, Autocar reports that the new M5 will be the first all-wheel drive super saloon from the German carmaker. 

It will be powered by "an updated version" of the current M5's 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, which the magazine says produces 603bhp and 627lb-ft of torque. 

The engine will be coupled to a "seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox" capable of launching the M5 from zero to 62mph in around 3.5secs. 

Prices for the new BMW M5 will be revealed close to the car's unveiling towards the end of the year, according to rumours. But the M5 is likely to cost considerably more than the range-topping 540i X-Drive's £46,645. 

Reviews

What Car? says the 530d's 3.0-litre diesel engine "offers effortless performance", applauding its ability to "cruise along the motorway at low revs" and still be able to use its 261bhp on demand. Its optional four-wheel drive system means it's also faster to 62mph compared to the petrol engine, but "gets worse fuel economy", the website says.

The 530d is also quiet for the passengers inside, it adds, and the engine is "smooth and refined under acceleration".

Top Gear disagrees, saying the engine is "not quite as quiet at full-power" compared to some of its rivals. Instead, the magazine prefers the "stonking" 540i petrol engine, which it says is both "responsive and lag-free in the mid ranges".

Underneath, the chassis is a "very well developed piece of engineering", continues the mag, and it feels like a more agile and responsive version of the 7-Series.

Auto Express also found the chassis to be lighter and more refined than its predecessor - it is "almost as light and agile as the smaller 3-Series", it says.

Thanks to its aerodynamics, the noise is "almost absent", with only the harshest road surfaces disturbing the silence, adds the magazine.

BMW'S refinements to the 5 chassis and engine means the 5-Series manages everything from twisty corners to motorways with ease, says Car. It is, however, "strangely undramatic" as its turbocharged engine does not sound "very exciting". 

The 530d is arguably the pick of the bunch, the magazine adds, with its all-wheel drive and steering systems allowing drivers to build "huge confidence" in the car's capabilities. It also deals with bumps and potholes in a manner that "beggars belief" when specced with 18ins alloy wheels. 

Buyers may be disappointed with the lack of a manual gearbox option, says CarBuyer, although the standard gearbox performs "brilliantly" and "shifts unobtrusively" when switched to automatic mode. 

In addition, the "luxurious" interior and "excellent driving position" will leave drivers feeling "so, so relaxed". They'll also get an "engaging" and "rewarding" experience when driving on twisty roads thanks to the "expertly" tweaked suspension, the mag adds. 

530e iPerformance

A 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid will join the line-up of petrol and diesel models in March, priced at £43,985.

Under the bonnet sits a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine paired to an electric motor. The two power units combined, can produce 248bhp and a claimed 141.2mpg and 46g/km of emissions. The 530e will also go from zero to 62mph in 6.2secs and on to a top speed of 146mph.

The lithium-ion battery gives a range of 29 miles on electric power alone. Performance figures are slashed as the 94bhp motor has a top speed of just 87mph, but it may be useful for drivers running low on fuel. The 181bhp combustion engine kicks in once the battery runs out.

Inside, drivers can expect a 10.25ins infotainment screen with voiceover controls, while autonomous features such as lane-keeping assistance and active cruise control are optional extras. There's even support for smartphones with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

5-Series Touring

BMW revealed its Touring variant of the new 5-Series to the public at the Geneva Motor Show.

There's little difference in the design of the Touring over the regular 5-Series saloon, with the estate retaining the same styling on the front bumper and along the wings. Only the long, sloping rear roofline marks it out as different. 

The new car is slightly larger than the outgoing model, with a 0.3ins longer wheelbase and 0.4ins taller roofline to improve passenger leg and headroom. It also features the updated LED headlight cluster that debuted on the 4-Series facelift at the beginning of the year.

In addition, storage space has been improved, as the extra length and height has allowed the Touring to accommodate a 570-litre boot with the rear seats up and a massive 1,700-litres with them down. 

The 5-Series Touring goes on sale in June, reports Autocar, with prices starting from around £38,385.

That's around £2,360 more than the saloon, adds the magazine, although the estate "is expected to outsell the 5 Series saloon in the UK".  

5-Series Touring Reviews

BMW's new 5-Series estate "looks much the same as the previous Touring", says the Daily Telegraph, which is "no bad thing" as it is a "solidly excellent car" - although it can be "a little dull".

One of the car's most substantial updates is the introduction new driver aids, which the newspaper says includes BMW's "excellent head-up display" that helps prevent drivers from going the wrong way down a one-way street.

The automatic tailgate and self-levelling suspension standard on all models make it feel "well equipped with both hi-tech and utility features", adds the paper.

CarBuyer  adds that the "slick" eight-speed automatic gearbox, which also comes as standard, can be adjusted through an array of driving modes, including "Sport" and "Comfort" settings. In addition, they can alter the characteristics of the suspension and steering.

Buyers can choose from a range of diesel engines, including a 530d and all-wheel drive 540d, but the website argues that the entry-level 520d is the best option.

The more powerful engines may have "extra punch", but that isn't enough to "justify spending the extra £8,000 when the 520d is so accomplished and sufficiently quick in its own right", CarBuyer concludes.

Price and release

BMW plans to launch the car in February 2017, before introducing more engine options in April.

The company has also confirmed how much the 5-Series in its various launch guises will cost, with the basic 520d kicking off from £36,025, making it around £2,000 more expensive than the cheapest E-Class. Auto Express says that less expensive 5-Series variants will arrive in time.

The more powerful 530d diesel will be £43,835 on the road. Both diesels can be equipped with an X-Drive AWD, although BMW hasn't disclosed how much extra this will cost. 

Petrol-powered versions will begin at £40,120 for the 530i, while the fastest and most powerful 540i X-Drive model starts from £46,645.

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